What is weaning?
Introducing your baby to solid foods, also referred to as weaning or complementary feeding, starts when your baby is around 6 months old. Your baby should be introduced to a varied diet, alongside their usual breast milk or first infant formula.
Your baby may gag when you introduce solid foods. This is because they’re learning to regulate the amount of food they can chew and swallow at one time. If your baby is gagging, this is what may happen:
your baby’s eyes may water,
they might push their tongue forward (or out of their mouth).
to bring the food forward in their mouth — they might make a retching movement, or they may vomit.
Foods to avoid
It's important to know which foods are safe for your little one. Here's a list of which ones to avoid and why.
Sugary snacks: sugar can cause tooth decay. You don't need to add sugar to your baby's food either.
Raw jelly cubes: can get stuck in the throat.
whole nuts and peanuts: should not be given to children under 5 years old.
Honey: Avoid honey until your baby is 12 months old – it contains bacteria that can lead to infant botulism, a serious illness that can make your baby very unwell.
Salty foods: like bacon, sausages, chips with extra salt, crackers, crisps, ready meals, takeaways, gravy and meals made with stock cubes. Babies shouldn't eat salty foods as it isn't good for their kidneys, there's no need to add salt to their food either.
Soft cheeses — can contain a bacteria called listeria, these include: mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie or camembert
ripened goats' milk cheese, such as chévre soft blue-veined cheese, such as roquefort. unpasteurised cheeses, due to the risk of listeria. Check the labels to make sure you're buying cheese made from pasteurised milk.
Raw Shellfish: this can increase the risk of food poisoning. Children should only eat shellfish that has been thoroughly cooked.
Shark, swordfish or marlin: high levels of mercury in these fish can affect your baby's growing nervous system.
Choking can happen with hard foods, bones and small round foods that can easily get stuck in the throat. Remember, you should:
Cut small round foods, like grapes and cherry tomatoes, into small pieces.
Peel the skin off fruit, vegetables and sausages (though remember that sausages can be high in salt).
Remove hard pips or stones from fruit.
Remove bones from meat or fish.
Soften hard fruit and vegetables (such as carrot and apple) when first given to your baby from around 6 months.
whole nuts and peanuts should not be given to children under 5 years old.
Never give them raw jelly cubes, they can get stuck in the throat.
Make sure your little one is sitting up properly in their high chair, and never leave them while they're eating.
If you think your child is choking and cannot breathe properly:
shout for help.
Support their chest and chin with one hand and – with the heel of your hand – give 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades.
This will hopefully dislodge the object.